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Five Books That Every Black Man Should Read in 2015

by Todd A. Smith


Tavis Smiley speaks about his book “Death of a King” at Book Expo America in New York on May 29, 2014 (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan).


Reading is Fundamental

Last year ended up as a turning point for Black men and the Black community.

Everyone from celebrities to civilians unplugged their headphones and got plugged into the times, protesting against social inequality and injustice.

The previous year reminded many of previous generations, but if we do not educate ourselves on what our ancestors had to overcome then this generation still has a lot to learn.

Since knowledge is infinite and reading provides one with that knowledge, has formulated a list of five books that all Black men should read in 2015.

  1. 1) “Ebony and Ivy” by Craig Steven Wilder—Many do not know that the foundation of American higher education was established on the back of slave labor and endowments from slave owners.  “Ebony and Ivy” is a well-researched text on how the Ivy League was established and nourished off the free labor of Black slaves.
  2. 2) “Against all Odds” by Roger Cador—Although the plight of Black males in 2015 is real, nothing compares to what our predecessors went through before the Civil Rights Movement.  Southern University’s legendary baseball coach Roger Cador’s autobiography depicts his upbringing as a sharecropper (who only went to school one semester per year because of farming duties) to college-educated professional baseball player and iconic college coach, and will motivate all Black males to achieve greatness despite the obstacles.
  3. 3) “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northup—Although the movie adaptation was hard to watch, Solomon Northup is America’s version of Anne Frank and slavery was our Holocaust.  An appreciation of the strength of our ancestors is enhanced after reading first-hand slave narratives.
  4. 4) “Death of a King” by David Ritz and Tavis Smiley—Martin Luther King, Jr. is justifiably praised for his larger than life persona.  However, little is known about the year preceding his death and how he dealt with criticism from the press and other Black leaders who had adopted a more militant stance.  Tavis Smiley paints an honest portrait of a revered man coming to grips with a changing society.
  5. 5) “Stokely” by Peniel E. Joseph—People throw out the term “Black Power” often but many do not realize that it originated from Stokely Carmichael.  Peniel Joseph’s biography of Carmichael paints a picture of how the non-violent turned militant activist’s philosophy reflected a change in perspective for the entire Civil Rights Movement.

This article was published on Friday 02 January, 2015.
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